Steve Mistler

Chief Political Correspondent and State House Bureau Chief

Steve has been a journalist for nearly two decades, specializing in the coverage of politics and state government. His work has been recognized by the Maine Press Association and the New England Newspaper and Press Association for investigative projects and accountability journalism. He was named the MPA’s Journalist of the Year in 2011 for his coverage of municipal government for The Forecaster in Falmouth and, later, for his coverage of state government for the Sun Journal in Lewiston.

Steve became the state house bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram in 2012. After four years with Maine’s largest daily newspaper, Steve made the leap to radio journalism, joining Maine Public in May 2016.

Steve is married with one child and has two crazy dogs. His family lives in Brunswick.

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A new report suggests that an economic incentive program designed to help struggling areas of the state is poorly designed and is unlikely helping economically depressed areas. The analysis from the legislature’s watchdog agency says that the Pine Tree Development Zone program lacks the needed data collection and accountability to assess its true capacity to create jobs, and recommends a major overhaul. But some lawmakers think it’s time to scrap the 13-year-old program that costs the taxpayers $12 million a year.

Maine 2nd District Congressman Bruce Poliquin told a private gathering that he avoids speaking to reporters because he’s afraid doing so could cost him at the ballot box.

In the secretly recorded audio recording obtained by the Maine People’s Alliance, Poliquin told backers of the Maine Heritage Policy Center he’s using this media strategy because his seat is one of two dozen swing seats in Congress.

“It would be stupid for me to engage the national media to give them, and everybody else, the ammunition they need and we would lose this seat, but I get it,” said Poliquin.

Steve Mistler / Maine Public

Democratic State Rep. Jared Golden, of Lewiston, announced Thursday that he’s running for the 2nd Congressional District seat currently held by Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin.

Golden, 34, is the assistant majority leader in the Maine House of Representatives, where he is in the middle of his second term.

He is a veteran of the U.S. Marines, serving four years with deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Jay Reeves / Associated Press/file

It didn’t take long for Gov. Paul LePage’s remarks about the violent white nationalist protests in Charlottesville to hit national media outlets and become a trending topic on Twitter.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

The controversial ballot campaign hoping to convince voters to approve a casino in York County has hired the same Washington D.C. consulting firm that helped convince British voters to withdraw from the European Union last year.

Haven Daley / Associated Press

Leaders of a special legislative committee implementing Maine's legal marijuana law say commercial licensing and sale of the drug is unlikely to begin until next summer.

The committee today completed drafting the regulatory framework for the voter-approved law, but those guidelines must first be finalized and adopted by the Legislature before the final rulemaking process can begin.

Republican state Sen. Roger Katz, co-chairman of the committee, is hopeful the process will move quickly.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Gov. Paul LePage is among a minority of the nation’s governors yet to issue a public statement about the white nationalist protests that turned violent Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Maine Senate President Mike Thibodeau says he’s confident that a state agency responsible for mapping services is fully funded, countering claims from the LePage administration that the recently passed state budget mistakenly zeroed out its state allocation.

LePage’s finance department notified lawmakers earlier this week that the budget contained a mistake that stripped the Maine Office of Geographic Information Systems and the Library of Geographic Information.

A committee convened by the Maine Department of Public Safety says it doesn’t believe that Maine needs to set a limit for determining whether a motorist is impaired by marijuana. The recommendation is likely to stir debate among law enforcement officials and legislators as implementation of the voter-approved recreational marijuana law plods forward.

The Legislature was in session Wednesday, reviewing vetoes issued by Gov. Paul LePage. Lawmakers overrode LePage’s effort to block a bill that could expand access to opioid addiction treatment, and sustained his veto of a bill that would ban motorists from using hand-held devices while driving.

Bobby Caina Calvan / Associated Press

A bill prohibiting Mainers below age 21 from purchasing tobacco products will soon become law.

The Senate voted 29-5 and the House voted 90-44 to override Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of the proposal, which supporters say will lower smoking rates and smoking-related deaths.

Republican state Sen. Eric Brakey warned that passing the bill would force young adults to seek to purchase the products illegally.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

Republican Gov. Paul LePage took his campaign against U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Angus King, an independent, to a national audience, furthering speculation about his future political ambitions.

Darron Cummings / Associated Press/file

Secretary of State Matt Dunlap says he’s refusing a second request by the Trump administration’s election fraud commission to turn over Maine voters’ personal information.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

Two months after ruling out a bid for the U.S. Senate, Gov. Paul LePage suggested Thursday that there's a possibility he may challenge independent U.S. Sen. Angus King next year.

The Republican governor also acknowledged that he's being pressured to run by the Trump administration.

LePage told Portland radio station WGAN that he may reconsider if Auburn state Sen. Eric Brakey's Senate bid doesn't gain traction.

Darron Cummings / Associated Press

Secretary of State Matt Dunlap says President Donald Trump’s controversial voter fraud commission should make sure ballot security doesn’t discourage voter participation.

Dunlap is one of four Democrats on a 12-member panel that critics say is engineered toward nationalizing Republican voter suppression efforts. The commission met for the first time at the White House Wednesday, and Dunlap used his opening remarks to offer some advice: to address claims of voter fraud.